The holidays can be a hard time for anyone, at any point in life. This can be for many reasons including a lot of change or unknowns heading into the new year, financial pressures, strained relationships, or family expectations that can get intense during holiday periods. You may even enjoy the holidays but aren’t able to celebrate how you’d like to or won’t be with family and friends which can be disappointing and lonely.

Whatever the reason, we’ve rounded up some key tips for coping with stress and other emotions that can pop up over the silly season.

1: Acknowledge your feelings

Holidays can bring up a lot of emotions and are often a time for reflection, so it can be tricky to feel positive at this time. If someone close to you has passed away, you have strained relationships, or you can’t be with your loved ones this year it’s normal to feel some sadness and grief.

You can’t force yourself to be happy. It’s okay to express how you’re feeling and allow yourself to be upset. It’s a lot better than bottling your feelings up. Try writing down what it is you’re feeling or chat to a friend or trusted person. There’s always someone to listen.

2: Find what works for you

Remember, the holidays don’t have to be perfect. In fact, for most people there are often a few bumps along the way, regardless of what you see people post on Facebook! Our families grow and change and so do our traditions and rituals together. So, it often means we don’t get to spend holidays all together anymore, and that can be really hard.

If you can’t celebrate the way you’d like to this year, try organising a catch-up online, share photos and videos from your day, or find new ways (or dates) to celebrate together. You could even organize to catch up with friends instead, or even volunteer to give back to your local community.

Volunteering is a great way to spend time with people and help others

If you feel you don’t have anywhere or anyone to spend the day with, or you’re experiencing or are at risk of homelessness, there are a range of events hosted by local community organisations and religious groups that can welcome you for a yummy meal and festive celebrations.

3: Give from the heart

Holidays can be expensive, and money is a huge stressor at this time of year. Before you do any food or gift shopping, decide how much you can afford. Then stick to that budget. Overspending will end up causing more guilt and stress.

Try purchasing gifts at a local charity shop, making something homemade, or suggesting a catch-up at home rather than expensive eating out. Remember it’s absolutely the thought that counts. We guarantee people will enjoy your company or something thoughtful you’ve made much more than an expensive gift.

If you need help to pay for food and gifts, check out the Salvation Army’s food hamper and gift assistance scheme.

4: Take a break

Make some time for yourself, so when things get busy or overwhelming you’ve got some time to reset. Even taking 15 minutes for yourself with no distractions is a great way to reset your emotions.

Find something that helps with your stress levels by clearing your mind, slowing your breathing and restoring inner calm. Whether it’s going for a walk, meditating, or listening to a podcast find something that works for you.

Take a break, you deserve it!

Looking for more ways to relax? Read our blog to find out how you can tune into your senses.

5: Reach out

If you’re feeling lonely, isolated, or overwhelmed this Christmas know that you’re not alone, no matter how it feels right now.

Reach out to a friend, family member either in person or via phone or video chat and talk about how you’re feeling or get involved with a community organisation to grow your social connections.

If you’ve been feeling this way for a while, book an appointment with your GP to access mental health support. If you’re experiencing crisis, and don’t know where to turn, we’ve compiled a list of resources you can access this holiday period. Remember, you matter, things can get better, and help is always available.

Have a safe and happy holiday. A reminder that our offices will be closed until 9 am 3 January 2023. We look forward to supporting our customers in the new year.

Images: Shutterstock